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Showing posts from August, 2018

A Soldier's Story: Private George Watson

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Private George Watson was born about 1915 and grew up in Birmingham Alabama.  He joined the U.S. Army on September 1, 1942, and was assigned to the 29th Quartermaster Regiment.

While traveling to New Guinea, his transport ship, Jacob, was struck by enemy bombers on March 8, 1943, and began to sink.

A competent swimmer,  Private Watson assisted other soldiers to life rafts.  The suction from Jacob's submersion, however, pulled him under prior to his entering a life raft.

His body was never recovered.  These actions earned him a Congressional Medal of Honor.

As an orphan, the U.S. Army retained his medals and they are currently on display at the U.S. Army Quartermaster Museum in Fort Lee, Virginia.

A Marine's Story: Sergeant Dallas Henry Cook

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Born on May 19, 1921, in Robinette, West Virginia, Sergeant Dallas Henry Cook enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on August 14, 1940.

Assigned to the elite Marine Raiders, he participated in the raid on the Markin Islands.

While attempting to aid the evacuation of other Marines, he was killed in action on August 18, 1942.

He was never recovered.

Sergeant Dallas Henry Cook is listed in the Courts of the Missing in Honolulu, HI.

The U.S. Navy ship USS Cook was named in honor of Sergeant Dallas Henry Cook and 2nd Lieutenant Andrew F. Cook Jr., who was also killed during WWII.

A Marine's Story: Sergeant Carlos Norman Hathcock

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Sergeant Carlos N. Hathcock was born on May 12, 1942, in Little Rock, Arkansas.  An avid hunter and accomplished shooter, he won several shooting competitions, including the Wimbledon Cup prior to his enlistment in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Originally assigned to Military Police, Sergeant Hathcock's shooting accuracy quickly had him reassigned as a sniper, and he deployed to Vietnam.

While in Vietnam he eliminated 93 confirmed targets, including his most famous shot, in which he shot an enemy through the enemy's own rifle scope.  The North Vietnamese Army placed a bounty of $30,000 dollars on his head.

Sergeant Carlos Hathcock's combat career ended on September 16, 1969, when the AMTRAC he was in struck an anti-tank mine, and while pulling other Marines to safety, sustained 3rd-degree burns.  He remained with the Marine Corps and helped establish the Marine Corps Sniper School.

Eventually, his health deteriorated to the point where he could no longer serve and medically reti…

A Soldier's Story: Major Della H. Raney Jackson

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Major Della Hayden Raney Jackson was born on January 10, 1912, in Suffolk Virginia. She moved to Durham North Carolina to attend nursing school at the Lincoln Hospital School of Nursing, graduating in 1937.

She continued to work at the Lincoln Hospital, including supervising the operating room while trying to get approval to enlist in the U.S.Army, which, because of the racial bias at the time, did not occur until April of 1941.

Major Della Hayden Raney Jackson was first assigned as the commander of the nurses of African descent at Fort Bragg, N.C. and was the first woman of African descent to hold a command position.

She moved in March 1942 to the Tuskegee Army Airfield and was promoted to Chief Nurse.  She continued to supervise nursing units throughout the war, and during the occupation of Japan, was deployed to a nursing unit there.

Major Della Hayden Raney Jackson retired from the U.S. Army in 1978.  She died on October 23, 1987, and rests in Arlington National Cemetery.

In 2012…

An Airman's Story: General James "Jimmy" Doolittle

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Born on December 14, 1896, in Alameda, California, James Harold Doolittle spent most of his youth in Nome, Alaska.  Returning to California, in 1910 General Doolittle saw his first airplane at the Los Angeles International Air Meet and found his calling.

After his graduation from Manual Arts High school, he briefly attended the University of California at Berkley, interrupting his education in October 1917 to enlist in the Signal Corps Reserve (the precursor to the Air Force) and, during WWI was assigned to be a flight instructor and gunnery instructor, returning to Berkley after the war to finish his degree, graduating in 1922.

Between the wars, General Doolittle maintained reserve status, and while earning an MS in Aeronautics from MIT (July 1923) and an ScD from MIT (June 1925), he also earned a name for himself as a pilot through several cross-country and test flights.

General Doolittle also loved to compete, winning the Schneider Cup in 1925, the MacKay Trophy in 1926, and the B…

An Airman's Story: Staff Sergeant Stanley C. Pillsbury

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Staff Sergeant Stanley Curtis Pillsbury was born on January 19, 1919, in Sanford Maine, and grew up working on the family farm.

Enlisting in the Army Air Corps (U.S. Air Force) on November 12, 1941, during WWII, he was assigned as a gunner for the B-24 Liberator Unit, and, was sent to the Pacific.

In April 1943, during the Battle of  Funafuti, over Nauru, his plane, the "Superman" had taken heavy fire, and Staff Sergeant Stanley Pillsbury had received a severe injury to his leg from enemy rounds and still managed to shoot down an enemy plane while being bandaged.  The Superman was able to land (never to fly again) and Staff Sergeant Pillsbury, due to his injuries, retired from the war.

He returned to Maine and was able to provide author Laura Hillenbrand a detailed account of his time in the service, which she used for her book "Unbroken".

Staff Sergeant Pillsbury died on July 8, 2008, and rests in the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona.

A Soldier's Story: 2nd Lieutenant Eunice F. Young

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Born on May 21, 1913, in Arkport, New York, Lieutenant Eunice F. Young, after her graduation from Arkport Central School, moved to Arizona to attend nursing school and then, in 1939, joined the U.S. Army and was assigned to the military hospital in Manila, Philippines.


After caring for patients, under fire, in the Malinta Tunnel, she, along with 78 other nurses (both Army and Navy) was captured by enemy soldiers and sent to the Santo Tomas Internment Camp.   She was a prisoner of war for almost three years.

During that time, the nurses, while caring for patients in the prison hospital, maintained consistent acts of defiance.  Lieutenant Young maintained a hidden diary, and the nurses, in order to aggravate the guards, would space themselves far enough apart that the guards would have to bow upwards of 30 times when performing inspections.

The conditions at Santo Thomas were harsh, and the nurses were starving, Lieutenant Young, upon liberation, weighed 110 lbs (she was 5' 6"…

A Marine's Story: Staff Sergeant Beatrice "Bea" Arthur

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Staff Sergeant Beatrice "Bea" Arthur was born Bernice Frankel, on May 13, 1922, in Brooklyn, New York.

While young, her family relocated to Cambridge, Massachuttes and she attended the Linden Hall School for Girls in Lititz, Pennsylvania.

In early 1943, she enlisted in the U.S Marines and was assigned to office duties and truck driving.  She received an honorable discharge in 1945.

Staff Sergeant Arthur began working as an actress after her service, beginning with the off-Broadway Cherry Lane Theater, quickly moving to Broadway performances, including the 1964 premiere of Fiddler on the Roof.

Moving to television, she became known for playing the outspoken feminist Maude (Edith's cousin) in the series All in the Family.  The character Maude was ultimately spun off to its own sitcom, which earned her several Emmys and a Golden Globe.    Her most famous role began in 1985 which she was cast as Dorothy in the Golden Girls.

After the Golden Girls sitcom ended, she continued…